Oral diseases like gum disease cause pain, and infection, and lower your quality of life. It can lead to problems speaking, chewing, and affects your overall health. In fact, almost 50% of all Americans over 30 show at least some signs of gum disease, with 9% having severe gum disease.
Despite these statistics, gum disease is very treatable in its early stages. Learning more about the different periodontal disease stages will help you address any symptoms you may be having early on.
Keep reading this guide to learn everything you need to know about the stages of periodontal disease.
Overview of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease or gum disease is a serious bacterial infection of the tissues surrounding your teeth. Initially, it begins to cause inflammation of the gums.
However, if it’s not treated in the early stages, it begins to erode the bone that supports your teeth. This eventually leads to loose teeth and permanent tooth loss.
Periodontal disease has multiple stages and the symptoms vary for each stage.
Periodontal Disease Causes
The primary cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene habits. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth well, it allows bacteria to travel underneath your gumline. It also leads to the formation of plaque.
Plaque is a thin bacteria film that can form on the surface of your teeth. As it advances, it hardens and turns into tartar. If plaque and tartar are left on your teeth and extend below the gumline, it can cause infections.
Other risk factors include:
- Having diabetes
- Family history of gum disease
- Hormonal changes like pregnancy
Also, having health conditions that cause inflammation in your body like arthritis can increase your risks.
Periodontal Disease Stages
Periodontal disease begins to cause more problems if it’s left to progress to later stages. There are four gum disease stages to be aware of which include:
Gingivitis is also known as early-stage gum disease. It’s not as severe as more advanced periodontitis and is reversible at this stage with proper brushing and flossing.
Gingivitis is gum inflammation typically from a bacterial infection. If you don’t treat gingivitis early, it can develop into a more severe infection. The bacteria that cause gingivitis are usually due to dental plaque overgrowth.
Symptoms of gingivitis aren’t always obvious at first, but eventually, you’ll begin to notice symptoms like:
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums with brushing and flossing
- Mouth sores
- Bright red gums
- Bad breath
- Sensitive teeth
If you notice any of these symptoms at all, you should see a dentist immediately even if they’re mild. With the right dental care, you can reverse the damage.
During this stage, your gums will begin to pull away from your teeth. You’ll then start to lose bone around your teeth which causes periodontal pockets.
Periodontal pockets are deep spaces that form around your teeth which can lead to tooth loss. Bacteria, plaque, and tartar easily become trapped in these pockets since they’re difficult to reach by brushing and flossing.
Mild periodontal disease symptoms include:
- Gums continue to pull away from your teeth
- Pain with chewing
- Bleeding gums
- Sore gums
- Changes in how your teeth fit together with biting
At this stage, you’ll continue to lose more bone around your teeth. Bacteria also continue to build up and wear away the soft tissues that provide support and nourishment for your teeth.
You’ll notice an increase in soreness and tenderness. You may also notice your teeth feel loose, making it difficult to chew. Additionally, gaps or spaces between your teeth start to become more obvious.
At this point, the bone loss continues causing multiple teeth to become loose and even fall out. Severe periodontitis also causes bleeding gums and noticeable pus and infections around the gum line. It’s common to have chronic bad breath at this stage.
It’s essential to realize that periodontitis can impact your overall health. Research shows there is a link between oral health and overall health. Bacteria from gum disease can impact your heart by entering the bloodstream, causing inflammation and plaque.
In addition, people with diabetes don’t have the same healing capacity, which can make periodontitis worse. On the other hand, the bacteria and toxins from periodontitis cause system-wide inflammation, which can increase blood sugar.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
Your dentist will examine your gums to look for inflammation and other symptoms. They’ll also use a periodontal probe or small ruler to see if you have any pockets around your teeth. You’ll have dental X-rays to check for bone loss.
The treatment you need depends on various factors like:
- Stage of gum disease
- Overall health
- Current oral health
- How well you can follow a new oral hygiene routine
There are different surgical and nonsurgical treatments available. If you have gingivitis, getting routine dental cleanings twice yearly and improving your dental hygiene routine can be enough.
Some people might need more frequent cleanings to get control of the bacterial buildup.
Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning that involves cleaning beneath the gun line to remove tartar and plaque. It also involves thoroughly cleaning your teeth and smoothing away rough spots around your tooth roots. This helps prevent plaque and bacteria from reattaching easily.
Antibiotics to treat infections and laser periodontal therapy to kill bacteria and remove diseased gum tissue are also options. In severe cases, some people may need a pocket reduction survey to clean out pockets and reshape the bone.
Overall, practicing periodontal disease prevention with regular dental visits, brushing twice daily, and flossing once daily is key.
Take Control of Your Gum Health Today
Now that you know more about the different periodontal disease stages, you can take the next steps and schedule a dental appointment.
If you’re looking for a dentist in the Lakeway, TX area, you can turn to SkyRidge Dental. We offer services for kids, teens, and adults that include routine dental cleanings, exams, and periodontics.
We also offer cosmetic dentistry like Invisalign, veneers, whitening, and dental implants. You can also turn to us for extractions, oral surgeries, and same-day crown and bridge replacements.
Our friendly and experienced staff utilizes the most advanced technology to guarantee you get quality treatment at every visit.
Make sure to contact us today to schedule an appointment to start improving your gum health!